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Tisha B’Av Kashruth Questions

Q. The Mishnah Berurah (O.C. 554:41) rules that saying “Tzafra Tova” “Good Morning” is prohibited on Tisha B’Av, just as greeting one’s friend is by saying “Shalom Aleichem” (Mechaber 554:20). I am attending a Bris on Tisha B’Av. May I say “Mazal Tov” to the baby’s father? If I meet a sick person on Tisha B’Av, may I wish him a “Refuah Shleimah.” (a full recovery)? Are these also prohibited forms of greeting?

A. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l rules that Mazal Tov for a recent Simcha may be said on Tisha B’Av since it is considered a blessing and not a greeting (Dirshu M.B. Beiurim and Musofim 554:63 citing Halichos Shlomo Bein HaMitzorim Vol. 15 Orchos Halacha 30). However, if at all possible, one should wait for a different day to express this Mazal Tov (Chut Sheini Vol. 2 p. 327).

Our minhag is to perform a Bris on Tisha B’Av after the Kinos are completed, even if it is before Chatzos (mid-day), because of Zerizim makdimim l’Mitzvos, those who serve Hashem with alacrity, do mitzvos as quickly as possible (Mechaber, Rama 559:7 and Mishna Berurah ibid s.k. 26). Rav Shlomo Zalman was of the opinion that one can certainly say “Mazal Tov” at the Bris even before Chatzos (ibid). Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l however rules that the Mazal Tov for the Bris should only be said after Chatzos (Dirshu M.B. ibid citing Shmaitza D’Moshe p. 431).

Although “Sholom Aleichim” should not be said to an Avel (one who is in mourning), the Gesher HaChaim (21:67:7) permits wishing “Refuah Shleima” to an Avel who is ill, since this is considered a blessing and not a greeting. For the same reason it is permitted on Tisha B’Av to wish a “Refuah Shleima” to a person who is ill (Dirshu M.B. ibid).

Q. Ordinarily, the restrictions of the nine days extend until midday on the tenth of Av. However, this year Tisha B’Av is on Thursday and the tenth of Av will be erev Shabbos. To honor Shabbos, some of the restrictions end earlier. Can you please explain?

A. Shulchan Aruch (OC 558:1) writes that we commemorate the ninth of Av with mourning and fasting, because the Beis Hamikdash was set on fire at the end of the day on the ninth of Av. However, the fire burned until the end of the tenth day of Av. Since most of the destruction took place on the tenth of Av, the Shulchan Aruch writes that it is customary to refrain from drinking wine and eating meat on this day as well. The Rama adds that this custom applies only until midday of the tenth.

The Maharshal maintains that in addition to not drinking wine or eating meat on the tenth of Av until midday, one may not bathe or take a haircut. The Maamar Mordechai and others do not agree, and they limit the restrictions on the 10th of Av to wine and meat. The Askenazim are generally stringent and follow the Maharshal (MB 558:3), while many Sephardim are lenient in accordance with the opinion of the Maamar Mordechai (Yechave Daas 5:41).

Rav Yaakov Emden implies that when Tisha B’Av falls on Thursday, as is the case this year, one may bathe or take a haircut in honor of Shabbos immediately after the fast at night. This was also the opinion of Dayan Y.Y. Fischer (Even Yisroel 7:27). However, Rav Nissim Karelitz and Rav Shmuel Wosner only permitted bathing and taking a haircut beginning Friday morning.

Rav Yaakov Emden also implies that one may begin doing laundry immediately after the fast. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Shmiras Shabbos K’hilchasa 42, n. 15-16) writes that since this is permitted in honor of Shabbos, one may only wash clothing that is needed for Shabbos. However, Rav Nissim Karelitz (Chut Shani – Shabbos, p. 328) permitted washing all clothing immediately after the fast.

The Aruch Hashulchan (558:2) notes that when Tisha B’Av falls on Thursday there is definitely no justification to eat meat (or drink wine) before midday on Friday. Eating meat and drinking wine on Friday do not bring honor to Shabbos. Therefore, this restriction applies on Friday as well. (However, if one is invited to a seudas mitzvah, such as a siyum, one may eat meat or drink wine, even Thursday night.)

Q. We wrote in a previous above that when Tisha B’Av falls on Thursday, some poskim permit washing laundry immediately after Tisha B’Av, even if the clothing isn’t needed for Shabbos. Since this does not add to the honor of Shabbos, why would this be permitted?

A. Rav Nissim Karelitz, zt”l (Chut Shani – Shabbos, p. 328) writes that when Tisha B’Av falls on Thursday, one may wash clothing immediately after the fast, even if the clothing is not needed for Shabbos. He explains that Ezra HaSofer instituted that one should set aside Thursday as a day for doing laundry, so that on Friday one will be available to perform all the other preparations for Shabbos. When Tisha B’Av falls on Thursday, clothes cannot be washed during the day. Therefore, one should do laundry Thursday night, so that Friday will be available for other preparations. Once laundry is permitted on Thursday night, we do not differentiate between what is needed for Shabbos and what is not needed.

Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l (Kovetz Kol Hatorah 5763) writes that it is better to wash clothing Friday morning or Thursday night, rather than to delay washing until Friday afternoon and not have adequate time to prepare for Shabbos. Nonetheless, if one can wait until after Shabbos to wash clothing that will not be worn on Shabbos, that would be preferable, but if the alternative is to launder Friday afternoon, then it is better to do a wash Friday morning or Thursday night.